Saturday, 18 September 2010

Imaginary Worlds

I have been watching Little Pink this week and found myself mesmerised by her wonderful imagination.  She has carried me to the car, strapped me into my seat, given me a drink and driven me to Germany, complete with car noises and gear changes!  She has been shopping several times, driving to the supermarket in her car (her ride on toy), put her groceries in the boot and driven back home again, taking care to stop at all the red lights.  She has cooked, cleaned, done some gardening, bathed her dolls and teddies, put them to bed, read them a story, cuddled them when they hurt themselves and even put plasters on the ones with more serious injuries.  My favourite game was Mummy's bedtime, which meant I got put to bed on the sofa, covered with blankets and left to go to sleep for ten minutes!

Her bathtime games are just as imaginative.  Empty shampoo bottles become boats, submarines, kettles, waterfalls.  She swims in the "blue lake", just like the one she swam in on holiday, except this one has bubbles in it and is warmer!  In the garden, her trampoline has become an ice-cream parlour and she serves up delicious sundaes from there!  During one of our trips to town Tigger walked on the pavement with us and then had to hold our hands to cross the road so that he would be safe.

I am always sad when Little Pink wants to play but I can't because I have to cook tea, empty the dishwasher, hoover or do another of those chores that get in the way.  I wish I was more able to look at the world through her eyes, with innocence and wonder and delight.  I am left wondering just what is it that happens to our imagination as we grow older?  Why do so many of us lose the ability to see beyond the daily grind?  I know that it would be impossible to live in a make-believe world all of the time, and that we have to work and earn money to pay the bills, but why does our imagination seem to go to waste?  How can we reclaim the child within us whilst balancing it with the demands that our grown-up lives place upon us?

Friday, 10 September 2010

Tickled Pink's Treats

I have been totally blown away by the number of crafty creative people I have discovered since I began Tweeting and putting Tickled Pink Crafts out there on t'Interweb.  The talent, skill and imagination of these people is incredible and so I thought I would share some of my favourites with you.  I think I will make this a regular spot as there are too many to mention at once and I can enjoy looking at all the gorgeous goodies again and again, so please don't be cross if you don't appear this time, because I'm sure you will!

I'm starting with a shameless plug for  Miss Tickled and I are so proud of our website, and I am eternally grateful to her for creating such a wonderful showcase for our jewellery.  Each piece we make is totally unique, there may be similarities but no two pieces will ever be identical and they are lightweight and easy to wear.  Please drop by, have a look and tell your friends.

I think you will fall in love with the Socklings as much as I have -  Their creator describes them as Crazy Creatures made from socks and I think that's just about perfect.  Who would have thought that such adorable critters could be made from socks.  Here is a picture of Stripes who I have bought for Little Pink as a "moving into our new house gift".

I am completely in love with everything which Teasemade creates with her fine needle work and beautiful fabrics -  I just can't choose a favourite piece.

Then there's Scrummy Beads,  Beautiful and fun handmade beads, crafted into quirky jewellery that's fun to wear. Go and take a look, you won't be disappointed.

You should also go and look at where there are gorgeous photocards like this one.

This one really blew my mind -  The patience and skill in this is incredible.

Finally, here's one that I love, love, love -  The idea behind this is lovely and I may have to order one of these when finances are better.

And gosh, there are so many more:  Dottie Designs, Dragon Jewellery, Kokokelli, Silver Birch Bags, Diomo Glass, LouLou's Luxuries to name but a few, I know I've left so many talented people out.  Then there are the bloggers, amazingly talented writers who provoke and entertain - have a look at the list of blogs on here and you'll see how good they are.  I could sit here all night and list names and websites of all the incredible things that I have found.

You know, the Internet is an amazing thing.  How on earth did we manage without it, where did we celebrate our gifts and showcase what we are doing before it came along?  How did I ever cope without my "virtual" friends and colleagues (I say that as Grandpa Pink is looking over my shoulder tutting and completely not understanding what I am doing!)?  I love it and am in awe of the wealth of talent that is out there.

PS:  Hope that those people I've included on here don't mind - let me know if you want me to remove you and I will do so immediately.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Preparation for the big move

So, after a week of tension in the Pink household, we finally exchanged contracts with our buyer and seller on Friday.  Thursday night was a particularly sleepless one as our buyer's solicitor had discovered a covenant on a piece of land at the back of our house restricting the use to agricultural only - it appeared that we may have breached the covenant by building part of our extension on it (not that we knew it existed).  My night consisted of worrying about how on earth we could get round this and I had visions of the sale falling through and us having to pull down the right hand corner of our kitchen, pay an enormous fine, be put in the village stocks and pelted with all kinds of rotten fruit and vegetables by the other residents, who know that their gardens should only be used for agricultural purposes.  Suffice it to say that a red line drawn on a map was enough to ensure the exchange happened.

After the fantastic news had sunk in, Mr Pink toddled off to Heathrow to catch his latest flight to China, casually dropping the bombshell that he wouldn't be back until Saturday not Friday as usual.  He swears he had mentioned this before, but I think it was probably in one of those regular conversations that he has with himself but fails to vocalise externally!  Fortunately, Grandpa Pink has come to stay for the duration of the trip (and a bit longer) to help me start to sort things out.

Today we decided we would tackle the loft.  Luckily this is a walk in loft not one that has to be approached via a tiny hole in the ceiling - we do have one of those, but it involves me climbing up Mr Pink's shoulder and head to get in as he is too portly to fit through the hatch!  Now, foolishly I thought that this wouldn't be too bad as Mr Pink and I had sorted some things out before we put the house on the market.  Oh, how wrong I was!  Here are some of the items we have either marked for the charity shop or tip:

  • a bedside cabinet with no door and a broken leg
  • two 'portable' televisions - I use the term 'portable' but they each weigh as much as a baby elephant
  • odd pieces of plasterboard
  • empty shoeboxes
  • Mr Pink's 1980's style flying jacket (he is slightly bulkier now than I imagine he was then)
  • 3 computer bags - computers not included
  • an empty paint pot
  • a box of random ceramic tiles
 We did find lots of lovely 'forgotten' things too:
  • 3 beautiful handblown glass baubles from the Czech Republic
  • my single and LP collections - there's a whole blog post in there!
  • Great Grandma Pink's wooden chair - the leg has broken but we will get it repaired
  • Mr Potato Head
  • box crammed full of toy tractors and farm machinery
 And then, there are the things that you just don't know what to do with:
  • all the notes I made when writing my M.Litt thesis - just what do you do with pages and pages of writing about The Position of Women in Late 19thC Austrian Literature?
  • soft toys 
  • books that I have read, will never read again, but can't bear to throw away
  • wooden kitchen blind - will it fit the new house?
 And that's just half the loft, the other half is still to be done, the half that the rat decided would be a good place to live.  Then there's the shed and that kitchen drawer, you know, the one that everything gets shoved in - who knows what we might find in there?

Tuesday, 24 August 2010


I miss my Mum.  She died in March 2009.  She was diagnosed with breast cancer 15 years previously which she fought and we thought she had won.  Sadly it had spread to her bones, but again she fought and was beating it.  Finally it spread to her liver, nothing she could do about that, but she fought and fought until it finally beat her.

We never had that close mother/daughter relationship that you read about in the magazines and see on the adverts.  We never did girlie things together like shopping or lunch.  In fact, most of the time we argued and disagreed and sniped at each other.  But ultimately we loved each other.

I was very ill and in hospital in 2006 and the only thing I wanted was my Mum.  She came and everything was alright again.  A cuddle from her and everything was going to be OK.

I miss the fact that she isn't here just as I've become a mother.  Yes, she met her grand-daughter, but died when she was just 16 months old.  Little Pink can't really remember Grandma - yes, she can recognise her from a photo, but she can't remember her as a person.  And I miss not being able to talk to Mum about how willful and stubborn Little Pink is, and how she's driving me to distraction even though or because I love her to bits.  I can't tell Mum that I understand now - I understand why she shouted at me or stopped me from doing things.  Why she worried over the little things.  I know now, because I am a mother too.

I miss that she won't see our new house, even though she never did understand why I, born and brought up in a suburb of Leeds, wanted to live in the countryside.  I won't be able to hear her being critical that our nearest neighbour will be over a mile away and that we will have a septic tank.  And the fact that I want to keep chickens again, and perhaps a donkey or two, well............!

I just miss her.  Why tonight, I don't know?  It's another day tomorrow and the hurt will be in the background again, but it will always be there, I will always miss her, and I will always love her.

God bless you Mum.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Christmas is Coming!!

Christmas arrived in the Pink household today.  Little Pink decided to watch "Elf" on DVD and in spite of the sunshine and warmth outside we have been left feeling very Christmassy!

Having said that, I have been thinking about the festive season for a few days now, ever since Miss Tickled sent me the latest batch of enamel pieces to make up.  She has created some stunning hearts and flowers, red and silver with sparkles that catch the light and give them a whole new dimension.  Glittering stars and bold rectangles in shades of neopolitan ice-cream that will look incredible against a little black dress or jazz up a pair of jeans for a Christmas drink down the pub.

Here is a sneaky peak at one of our seasonal creations:

I am very excited about making up the rest over the next few days, and even more excited about showing them to you all.

But before I get back to my beads, I need to know - is it too early to put up the Christmas tree and start writing my letter to Santa?

Friday, 13 August 2010

Looks like we really are moving - and soon!!

So, we got a call from our estate agent tonight - our buyer is looking to exchange contracts either next Friday or sometime the following week!!  Now, this is fab news considering we were on the market for 13 months and had about 8 viewings during that time - but heck, that's only next week!!

We've only had the first quote for moving us today - do we get them to do the packing or do we do it?  I'm veering towards getting them to do it for the sake of £500 - sounds a lot, but think how stressful it would be?  What do I do about Little Pink's nursery?  She's so happy there - I hate that I'm taking her away from it, although I know there will be another good one where we are going - and they love her too.  What about all the junk that I was going to sort out before we moved?  What about saying goodbye to the friends that we have made here?

It's ridiculous.  I've been desperate to get away from here for a long long time.  I really dislike our neighbours on the one side, and the feeling is mutual (ever since we fell out over the plans for their extension and the five windows directly overlooking our garden).  I'm not over keen on the village and the people in it, with two or three exceptions, and I am especially glad to be leaving behind the woman who managed to get my big soppy dog who wouldn't hurt a fly issued with an asbo (that's a whole other story).  And the fact is we are moving to a beautiful house in a wonderful area, it's everything we wanted and more.  So why do I have so many misgivings and worries?

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

So, how did it all begin?

Well, I did promise to tell you how Tickled Pink Crafts was born, and I think I may have led you to believe that the story is far more exciting than it really is.

Miss Tickled and I share a passion for crafting, although since Little Pink was born I haven't had much time to indulge myself for fear of having my best paper strewn across the floor, pen nibs pushed flat and rubber stamps chewed!  I know I should share with her and encourage her arty side, but there are some things that are sacred - and my craft cupboard is one of those things!  Anyway, Miss Tickled had treated herself to a new craft tool and I was keen to see the results, so off I trotted to Bristol with Little Pink in tow.

Whilst Miss Tickled kept Little Pink amused with colouring and relentless answering of questions starting with "why?", I perused the intriguing pieces of enamel that she had created.  Heart and flowers shapes in shades of gold, brown and green, with hints of blue and black, some embossed with leaf patterns, some left plain but all staggeringly beautiful and crying out to be shown off. 

So, I persuaded Miss Tickled to let me take some of her creations home with me and excitedly dug around in the cupboard for my bead box that had been gathering dust for several years.  The transformation was immediate and astonishing, whilst beautiful in their own right, when paired together both beads and enamel pieces took on a whole new life.  Colours became more vibrant, new tones came to the fore, the swirls and whirls seemed to move as the light changed - truly stunning and unique pieces of jewellery.

Since that day, Miss Tickled has made more shapes in different colours, experimenting with their form and texture, their colour, shape and size and I have simply taken them and turned them into necklaces, earrings, brooches and rings, becoming more adventurous with my beads and threads, learning to tie adjustable knots and falling in love with my creative side all over again.  No two pieces are ever identical, the enamel mixing process ensures that they are all different - so although the colours may be the similar, the patterns, the swirls, the whirls, the selection of beads all vary from piece to piece.  Miniature works of art.

I have to add that Miss Tickled also makes the most gorgeous handmade cards - birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, new babies, something for every occasion - so it seemed logical to combine the two into Tickled Pink Crafts.

And that is how Tickled Pink Crafts was born - not earth-shatteringly exciting, but hopefully life-changing in some small way.  We are already talking about what we can add to our products, what can we make, what do we love?  Our website is on the way (yes, we've changed our minds and it's coming very soon), we are on Facebook and Twitter and we have made our very first sale - only £5, but it's a start!  We are very excited about our new venture, but particularly we are excited about our jewellery - we love it and we hope you do too.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

My husband - a "tribute"

Why is my husband incapable of making the bed, dressing our daughter, emptying the dishwasher, ironing and cooking?  Why is he unable to give the correct response to "does my bum look big in this?"?  In fact, why can't he say anything other than "you look alright" when I am blatantly fishing for compliments, and even when I'm not?  Why doesn't he see that the rug needs hoovering?  Why doesn't he notice that the plants need watering?  Why does he pick up the TV remote control and flick relentlessly through the channels rather than sticking with one thing or, God forbid, turn the damn thing off?  Why does he squeeze the toothpaste tube in the middle and always leave the loo seat upright?  Why does it take three times as long to do the weekly shop when he comes with me?  Why do I have to arrange his car insurance?  Why does he leave his BlackBerry switched on overnight and manage to sleep through all the email alerts coming through at 3 o'clock in the morning?

BUT, he brings me a cup of tea and toast in bed every morning and gets our two year old up.  He empties the bins, he picks up the dog poo and he cleans the parrot.  He works hard so that I can be a SAHM.  He fills the dishwasher and scrubs the kitchen floor.  He mows the lawn and is really good at DIY.  More than all of this, he loves me for all my faults and foibles, and best of all he let me go shopping today with his credit card!!!

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Twitter - what's it all about then?

I have spent the last few days in blatant self-promotion for Tickled Pink Crafts.  We have our own fan page on Facebook (thanks to Miss Tickled) and have joined Twitter.

I have successfully tweeted 74 times as I write this and am following lots of interesting people - mainly Mummy bloggers, crafty people and jewellery makers - but, and this is a big but...........I haven't got a clue what it's all about.  What's a "retweet" and how do I make comments on them?  What are all these words preceded by a #?  How do people find me?  Is it just for chatting?  Can I tweet anyone?  I am sure that I will get used to it in time, but if I am following you and I commit a Twitter faux-pas, please forgive me and chalk it up to inexperience.

Friday, 6 August 2010

A Day Off

Well I've managed to temporarily extricate myself from the pile of power tools, spirit levels, pots of paint etc and am having a day off - YIPPEEEEEEE

The reason for all the DIY paraphernalia is that I'm getting our house ready to sell or rent out so we can move to London!! I am sooooooooo excited. The location we are moving to is fab, but i'll bore you with all the details another day.

So what am i going to do with my day off..... well being the original wild child I'm going to start by going to look for curtains for the place in London, then have a spot of lunch and finish the day off by go to the cinema for an afternoon nap! The napping bit is not by choice i hasten to add but my other half is taking the day off too and wants to see Inception. I'm not a sci-fi fan and no doubt this afternoon will be a re-enactment of when we went to see Avater i.e. me nodding off and him waking me up when i started snoring!! (Hopefully we can skip the snoring part so i can sleep through the whole film this time though)

Tomorrow it will be back to the house revamp grindstone. So far the kitchen and bathroom have been gutted and are now shiny & resplendent; the lounge is homely; dining room de-cluttered and our bedroom light & airy. My next goal is to finish the hall - the meter cupboard has been built, pipes boxed in and skirting fitted so it's time for me to attack it with a paint brush.

Then as Mrs P said amidst all our upheaval there is the small matter of us launching our new business which I am so excited about!! However the shops are now open so I'm off to enjoy my wild crazy day off ;-D


Thursday, 5 August 2010

Ooh a blog, how exciting!! I'm not sure however that the world is ready for my inane ramblings so before I start I had better add a disclaimer that I can in no way be held responsible for any therapy that may subsequently be required by any readers!!

Back later for those brave enough to read!

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Crumbs, I've got a blog!!

Well, I've taken the plunge and gone and got me a blog.  So what do I write about that won't make me sound boring/completely bonkers/irritating and annoying or all of the latter?

Quite frankly, I'm not that interesting.  I am a stay at home mum, juggling the demands of a nearly three year old (who recently asked, "Mummy does Grandpa have a willy?"), two dogs (one large and one small), a talking parrot, several fish and a husband who seems to spend most of his time in China - you can guess who takes the most looking after - trying to set up a new business and a house move.

Yes, after 13 months on the market our house has finally sold and with our buyer keen to complete we have spent the last few weekends rushing round like headless chickens trying to find our forever home in Herefordshire.  Now, it might be just me, but why do houses never look as good when you see them in the flesh as they do on the particulars?  We went to see a beautiful looking barn conversion, 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, large kitchen and sitting room, huge gardens (you get the picture) which in reality turned out to have all of the above except it was awful!!  Whoever had done the conversion should have been shot!  We came across a water cylinder hidden behind a curtain at the top of the stairs rather than behind a door, a glass door from the sitting room leading straight into the utility room so you could spend your cosy evenings in front of the fire gazing lovingly at your washer-dryer, a hole in one of the bedroom walls overlooking the staircase - dreadful!!  Another property was teeny tiny in spite of the estate agent telling us it was plenty big enough for us all to live.  Now, bearing in mind we are moving my father in with us, how can a house with two bedrooms, a kitchen the size of a small matchbox and a postage stamp garden possibly accommodate all of our menagerie?

I could go on, especially about estate agents, but I won't and will suffice to say that we have found our dream house, perched on top of a hill in the Herefordshire Golden Valley, with an acre of land, an orchard, a paddock and enough outbuildings to house all of hubby's gadgets.  Subject to surveys and all that palaver we hope to move in September, so we are now at the mercy of solicitors and the like.  So, rather than stay at home to help, hubby decides to go to China for a week leaving me to deal with all the bumph!  Silly questions like "Please confirm that at completion you will have removed all items belonging to you from all parts of the property including the loft garage outhouses and garden" - well no, I thought I'd leave all of my furniture and clothes here and move to an empty house so that I can run around naked all the time!!  Is it me??

Then there's the little matter of setting up a jewellery and card making business with a very dear friend of mine.  Don't they say never go into business with friends?  We are "going live" on Facebook soon, but will have to delay the website launch as very inconveniently she has decided to move from Bristol to the bright lights of London at about the same time as I will be upping sticks - how inconsiderate!  Still, it gives us time (God knows when as I'll be manically packing boxes, contacting removal firms, finding paperwork, moving money between accounts....) to make more stock I suppose!  There's a story about how this burgeoning business emerged, but perhaps I'll bore you with that the next time.

So, if you're still awake, thank you for reading and please come again - it will get more exciting I promise.